Wintjiri Wiru, Aṉangu for ‘beautiful view out to the horizon’, has just launched at Uluṟu as the biggest permanent drone show in the world – and I had the privilege of being one of the first people to witness it. 


Some will say Wintjiri Wiru is a show five years in the making, but the Aṉangu, the local Aboriginal people who’ve been present on this Country since ‘the very first sunrise’, will tell you the story being shared echoes back tens of thousands of years.

Although Wintjiri Wiru utilises impressive new technology developed specifically for the show, the technological marvel of it all is not the focus here. 



The show is the culmination of incredible and arguably world-class consultation, collaboration, and creative storytelling between the Aṉangu, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, and internationally acclaimed light artist, Bruce Ramus. 

‘The process began by not considering tech at all, it began by thinking about the light, and the scale of this place. And then understanding the Aṉangu, and listening deeply,’ Bruce said. 

‘The ideas came from Country, they came from the land… the tech was entirely secondary to the primary concern of the story and the relationship I built with the Aṉangu and Voyages. That was the process,’ Bruce said.


Bruce Ramus with one of the 1,200 drones | @amy.eloise

What is it exactly?

At its base level, Wintjiri Wiru is a 22 minute drone, laser, projection, and sound performance showcased across the sand dunes on the outskirts of Uluṟu, with the unmistakable silhouette of the rock standing strong on the horizon. 



For this show, no screen is needed as Country is the canvas. The native flora found on the dunes, including Mulga scrub, Desert Oak, and spinifex, are used as the backdrop for moving projections before sky Country becomes dotted with 1,200 floating drones that are constantly transforming. The magic of it all almost tricks you into believing you’re watching shapeshifting constellations in the endless night above. 



‘When we saw the result of that work, we were quite overcome,’ said Rene Kulitja of the Wintjiri Wiru Working Group.

‘We’d never done anything involving those types of technology and lights in the past, and once we saw it come to life, it was quite amazing. And that it came from our Tjukurpa, our story from our part of the world.’

What’s the show about?

The performance tells part of the Mala story, a chapter of a significant Songline that snakes its ways across WA, NT, and into SA. The Mala story is the chapter that takes place between Kaltukatjara (Docker River) and Uluṟu, and belongs to the Aṉangu who have the cultural right to tell and share it.

And sharing this story with the world is a gift the Aṉangu are more than happy to give. 

‘I’m happy to be able to share some of the history stories for you to be able to hear,’ said Rene Kulitja.

The Mala Story is a part of the Aṉangu’s Tjukurpa, their all encompassing belief system and life compass. Tjukurpa is not something that’s written down, but rather passed on in other more personal and engaging ways, whether through song, art, or storytelling. 

By that train of thought, sharing the narrative of the Mala Story through an article would be insufficient. The best way to learn it is to witness Wintjiri Wiru with your own eyes. 


The purpose-built platform with artwork by Christine Brumby

Why is this so significant?

It cannot be understated the significance of the collaborative work that’s gone on in order to bring Wintjiri Wiru and the Mala Story to life. 

‘Every frame, every dot has been collaborated on to ensure we honour it in the right way’, said Voyages CEO Matthew Cameron Smith. 

A group of ten Aṉangu Elders were asked to join a Wintjiri Wiru Working Group to lead the creative direction and every decision that was made in the telling of this story. From which Dreaming story should be told in the first place, to the colours and shapes the drones create, and what soundscape should accompany the performance.

You’ll even hear the omnipresent voices of the Aṉangu Elders singing their inma (songs) and sharing their story with you in both Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara languages with English translation.


Can I book now?

Yep! The show launched a few weeks back and is now a permanent tourism offering by Voyages, with two performances happening every single night from March to December, and one show a night during January and February. The performance is expected to run for years to come. 

A ticket to the earlier three-hour Sunset Dinner session ($385 pp) begins a little before sunset and includes native ingredient-inspired cocktails and canapés (think kangaroo, emu, and croc) on the purpose and sustainably built platform that peers across the desert to Uluṟu.


Sunset cocktails and canapes with a world-class view | @amy.eloise


As dusk falls, the first 400 drones rise and the transfixing show begins. 

The After Dark session ($190 pp, $95 child) starts around two hours after sunset. This session is a little shorter (1.5 hours) and includes light refreshments before you settle in to immerse yourself in the show. 

Even for those Explorers who’ve visited Uluṟu-Kata Tjuta National Park before, Wintjiri Wiru will heighten and expand your experience and ongoing understanding of this sacred part of Australia. 

A viewing of Wintjiri Wiru will set the scene for your time at Uluṟu, but personally, I think it’s an uplifting finale that gives sacred insight into the past and a promising glimpse into the future for this place and its people. 

‘With this light show… the young people will follow that story and follow what their Elders have done before them…And think we’re not going backwards, we’re going forward, but in the right way. Going forward with strength.’ – Peter Mitchell of the Wintjiri Wiru Working Group.

Wintjiri Wiru is just one of the many events and experiences that make up the Northern Territory’s new Red Centre Lights Trail including the newly opened Light Towers at Kings Canyon.


Images thanks to Getty Images for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia


As custodians of the land, Anangu hold the Mala story from Kaltukatjara to Uluru. To share their story, RAMUS designed and produced an artistic platform using drones, light and sound to create an immersive storytelling experience.

Amy attended a viewing of the show on behalf of Voyages and Tourism NT.